When Tony wakes from whatever shut-eye his body has stolen from him, he has a routine and it is one he sticks to with alarming precision. He stumbles downstairs, bleary eyed, and makes himself an espresso he drinks straight before a triple-shot Americano. It is a routine that has seen him through some of the worst hangovers known to man, though those have now been swapped for aches in places he didn’t know he had after battles that lit up the whole of Manhattan.
So naturally, when he staggers into the group kitchen and grunts recognition at Clint (before coffee he is always monosyllabic), who is sat by the table eating Lucky Charms it takes him a moment to notice that he is struggling to conceal a grin a mile wide. It takes him even longer to understand the cause of this - the fact Mjolnir is perched atop the espresso machine.
In fact, as Tony’s brain begins to come online and panic bells begin to sound, it is sat exactly where he needs to get to, to put the Mexican blend of coffee beans he has specifically imported, and without that there is no espresso.
No espresso, his brain shrieks, and his voice is clouded with slight hysteria when he asks, “Jarvis, mind telling me why Mjolnir is on top of my espresso machine?”
“I don’t know sir.” If Tony didn’t know any better, he’d say the damn AI’s voice was fucking amused.
Steve strides in, t-shirt plastered to his back so close it’s a second skin, clearly just back from having a run. He looks far too cheerful for so early in the morning, and Tony feels a rush of loathing followed by a feeling he doesn’t want to look too closely at, and he practically bares his teeth and growls.
“Steve.” He mutters, “Where is Thor?” his voice is low, nearly hissing, and he can feel a headache coming on equivalent to going fifteen rounds with a Tribekerak (fucking Loki).
“Dunno,” Steve says with forced casualness, he’s never been a good liar, and Tony’s back is immediately up, hackles raised, “I’m guessing Asgard? Or with Jane? Why?”
“Because that walking commercial for hair dye has left Mjolnir on my espresso machine, and if I don’t get coffee in my bloodstream in the next five seconds I will commit a multitude of felonies so long that the court won’t know what to charge me with first.”
“Relax, I’ll head over to Starbucks.” Steve raises his hands, but he’s barely smuggling a grin, and if Tony was more awake he’d be suspicious, but his circuits shorted out over the word Starbucks and he’s practically drooling.
The incident leaves Tony’s mind quickly. Thor has little explanation, only shakes his head and repeats again and again that he had no clue of Mjolnir’s whereabouts at the time. It only takes Clint dropping the name Loki, and Tony decides that yes, that fuck-monkey of a God is probably the cause. After stewing and sulking and draping himself over Pepper’s desk to whine (a rather dangerous past time that usually ends with him sprinting out the room, Pepper’s insults hot on his heels) for a week or so, he forgets about it, because Tony has a lot to do and he’s more concerned with fighting these fucking creatures that keep appearing about New York.
However, it has to be mentioned (again) that Tony is a rich man, and with that comes certain amenities. For example, if he wants to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a toilet that fans his ass dry and screams AC/DC (or Bach for when he’s feeling more fragile after a night out) he can, because capital Fuck You He’s Tony Stark (and yes that is definitely more than enough reason). He’s come to love the high class toilet (despite the amount of laughs Pepper got out of it), squirrelled away in his private bathroom and they’ve shared some pretty intimate moments. It is even arguable that the Japanese made piece of technology has seen him at his lowest points (because no one looks classy throwing up vermouth and whisky gone sour). So when he steps into the massive bathroom and pads softly towards it, he emits a low growl upon finding, once again, that the blasted piece of DIY gone wrong is on top of the lid. He touches the sensor that lifts the lid up for him, and it strains pathetically for a moment before giving up, spouting some gibberish in Japanese at him.
“Jarvis, get me Thor right now.”
“I believe the man is in New Mexico, Sir.”
“I don’t give a flying fuck where he is, even if he is on the other side of Asgard, I want him on the phone right now.”
When the walking protein shake gets there a little later, he shakes his head in confusion and has an alibi not even Tony can put a hole through. He doesn’t miss Steve, standing in the background, smothering a giggle and nudging Clint’s shoulder (who can’t help howling with laughter, the bastard) and shoots him a glare.
Thor removes the offending item, but it is too late, the air the toilet fans is icy cold and it’s not the same anymore.
He begins finding Mjolnir everywhere. Behind the front wheel of his favourite Aston Martin (it’s a special edition, red and gold for crying out loud), on top of his favourite band t-shirts, perched atop his Stark tablet, or even once wedged against his workshop door.
The final straw, Tony finds, is waking up to find it resting, innocently, atop his chest. He claws at it futilely before taking in a deep breath to roar, “THOR I WILL END YOU.”
Steve comes running in within a minute, chest heaving from the exertion, and the slight raise of his eyebrows is the limit.
“Steve, if you don’t find a way to get this off me in two seconds I will – What are you doing?”
Rather than going to help the clearly struggling man in front of him, Steve is getting out his Stark phone. The one Tony gifted to him. To take photos of him in his hour of need. Traitor.
“What are you – no don’t take a picture. When did you get good with technology? I can hack into that phone and delete that photo right now Rogers. So much for being a paragon of virtue and all that is good about America.” Tony is snarky now, the initial panic and feeling of help I’m trapped inexplicably soothed by Steve’s presence. He knows, despite Steve’s teasing, he will find Thor and get the blasted hammer off his chest.
“Relax, I’ve got it.” Steve reaches forward, gripping the handle with his hand.
“What are you – Thor’s the only one who can lift that Steve.” Tony says it slowly, “Haven’t you got the Asgardian memo – ‘whoever holds this hammer if he be worthy shall possess the power of Thor’ blahblahblah?”
“Yeah, I know.” Steve replies, smile nearly blinding Tony, before lifting the hammer off Tony’s chest without even a slight hesitation.
For the first time, Tony is completely speechless as he watches Steve easily heft Mjolnir up, swinging it from hand to hand (and no of course he’s not paying very specific attention to the way the muscles bunch in Steve’s forearm with each swing).
“But how – you – what – Thor…” Tony trails off, “BUT HULK COULDN’T EVEN LIFT IT!”
“Guess I’m just naturally gifted,” Steve smiles, and throws up a pose with the hammer that Usain Bolt would be proud of, “Finally found a way to pin you down.” Tony feels like the ground underneath him has given way. Of course, of all people, Steve would be the one to be as worthy as a fucking god. The man starches his pants for goodness sake. But who knew, with that knowledge, Steve play everything by the rules Rogers would be such a prankster? And so sneaky? Was that pride Tony could feel, or just the arc reactor giving a kick?
“Why on earth would you ever want to pin me down?” Tony finds himself only able to ask that, the rest of his mind gone blank.
The slow smile that spreads across Steve’s face finds Tony both queasy and quivering with anticipation. “Because, you idiot, I couldn’t find a better way to do this.” And with no further ado, leans down, grabs Tony by the shirt, drops Mjolnir with a clang and presses his mouth to Tony’s.
And, as he lifts his hands to frame Steve’s face and smiles into the kiss, Tony can’t find it in himself to be mad.